Author Topic: A handgun question  (Read 3608 times)

Offline pony express

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A handgun question
« on: August 26, 2009, 10:01:27 PM »
At a match earlier this year whan speaking with Drydock, we discussed the possiblity of portraying a soldier in the Philippines armed with a rifle, and a privately purchased handgun, his a S&W lemon squeezer, I have an H&R top break. While I'm sure it's possible that some had them, how would that be handled in a match setting? Later it occurred to me that, at least when shooting under SASS rules, you can only load those at the firing line, because you can't lower the hammer on an empty chamber, since the cylinder is free to turn. Since I've never shot with NCOWS,so I don't know how those are handled there.

Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2009, 11:06:33 PM »
"Handguns shall be Milspec, or of demonstrated military use in the victorian era."

Thats pretty much our handgun policy in a nutshell.  If you read further thru the rules you will find a restriction of Non Milspec hanguns to  a minimum bore diameter of .357.

Small handguns like the S&W Safety Hammerless (Lemon Squeezer) were quite popular among both rank and officers.  The S&W itself was evaluated by the US army during the selection process that resulted in the aquisition of the M1892 Colt New Army, and though not selected, it recieved high marks, and was understood that any officer who chose to aquire one would not be frowned upon.  Infantrymen in particular  were fond of the little handguns, and to me make more sense for such a portrayal than carrying a full size Cavalry Revolver.

However, in our case, were talking about very old guns in combat scenarios.  GAF stages tend to have the pistol targets set somewhat further out, and will be harder to hit with such weapons in rapid fire.  Just so's y'know.  We also require movement with loaded/reloaded weapons in leather.  The gun must be capable of being safely carried (In todays modern, if litigous, sense) while loaded and holstered.  I'm not sure your H&R qualifies anymore.  I'm not personaly familiar with that weapon.  We do allow 5 shooters to be fully loaded, IF the weapon was designed to be safely carried that way.  IE the S&W Safety Hammerless fits that description.  A postitive  hamer block and grip safety.  If the H&R does not have these features, and allows the cylinder to spin under the hammer, then I don't see how it could be used in a main match scenario.  A side match stand and shoot stage is fine as you have described.
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Offline pony express

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2009, 05:20:32 PM »
The pocket pistol I have doesn't have those same saftey features, it's a "Hammerless", with a rebounding hammer, but no other saftey. I can do ok shooting at our standard CAS pistol targets with it, if I "stage" the trigger. But if you just point and squeeze, usually it pulls the shot at least a foot to the left.

Offline Steel Horse Bailey

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 11:55:58 PM »
Howdy, PR!

By both SASS and NCOWS rule, you can load 4 rounds at the loading table, but the 5th round (not the whole load) must be loaded on the firing line after the buzzer (or whatever signal to start is used) goes off.

BY the way, I've shot my pal's "Lemon squeezer" and IMHO it is a VERY cool revolver ...

Sgt. Drydock has got the GAF rules down - I just wanted you to know the NCOWS rules (and SASS, too) since the GAF uses these rules as a guideline.
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Offline pony express

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2009, 09:17:19 AM »
Howdy, PR!

By both SASS and NCOWS rule, you can load 4 rounds at the loading table, but the 5th round (not the whole load) must be loaded on the firing line after the buzzer (or whatever signal to start is used) goes off.

BY the way, I've shot my pal's "Lemon squeezer" and IMHO it is a VERY cool revolver ...

Sgt. Drydock has got the GAF rules down - I just wanted you to know the NCOWS rules (and SASS, too) since the GAF uses these rules as a guideline.

Does the Lemon Squeezer have a cylinder that is locked when it is not cocked? The problem with the H&R, and most similar pocket DA's, is that the cylinder is free to turn, axcept at the instant of firing, when the trigger is all the way back. So loading only 4 in it doesn't accomplish anything, since the cylinder is free to spin, you can't keep the empty chamber under the hammer. I think the earlier top break S&W DA's work the same as my H&R, but I've never handled the Lemon squeezer model.

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #5 on: Today at 01:46:23 AM »

Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 10:54:42 AM »
Yes, the Lemon Squeezer locks the cylinder. It also has a grip safety that must be squeezed in order to fire the gun, hence the name.  A very safe and reliable system.

  SASS has had a recent change in the rules regarding 5 shooters.  You can load all 5 if the revolver is equipped to be carried safe that way.  THis was made to largely accomdate percussion 5 shooters with notchs or pins between cylinders that allow the hammer to lock the cylinder between chambers.   But it accomodates cartridge guns as well.

However, SASS does not allow pocket pistols in the main match.  Something to be aware of when shooting a GAF class at a SASS match.  Most local diretors would accomodate this if requested, but its not an issue to be pushed if denied.

I'm going to consult with the Command Staff and see if we need to issue a further directive on this.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 11:47:02 AM »
BTW and FYI, here is the SASS rule from page 33 of the 2006 handbook: "5 shooters may load 5 rounds, but the hammer must rest on a dummy chamber or safety slot in the cylinder so the hammer does not rest on a live round/cap."  Clear as mud for those weapons with block safetys or rebounding hammers i'm afraid.  We'll figure something out.
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Offline Professor Honeyfuggler

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 11:56:07 AM »
Actually, I think it is quite clear. Hammers may not rest on a live round, period.

The "dummy cycilnder" referred to is for for six-shooters that are effectively five-shooters due to using a five-shot conversion, like the Krist. The hammer must rest over the non-loadable dummy cyclinder. Guns originally built as five-shooters must have a safety slot between the cylinders for the hammer to rest in to load all five live. Some do, some don't.

Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 12:33:56 PM »
Ah yes Professor, but you see, what about hammerless guns, or rebounding hammer guns where the hammer does not rest on any round at all? IE the hammer at rest is within the frame.  What about the Colt Pocket Navy and Police with their hammer pins between chambers?  Does it count if the safety slot is in the hammer?

Yes, I understand the intent, but the rule does not work well for GAF and its varied sidearms.
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Offline pony express

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2009, 02:56:19 PM »
I know the H&R and similar are only allowed for pocket pistol side matches in SASS, I wouldn't even bring it up there. But I wasn't familiar with NCOWS rules, and of course at the muster it will be strictly GAF rules, I presume.

Funny thing is, even though I've been shooting CAS for almost 10 years, I don't have anything that could work for the Span-Am period in GAF. It's always either modern with Blackhawks, or frontiersman with 1860 armys.

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #10 on: Today at 01:46:23 AM »

Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2009, 04:51:37 PM »
Few common Cowboy guns are REALLY appropriate for someone portraying the Spanish American War period.  Really the only one I can think of is the 5 1/2" SAA
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Offline Professor Honeyfuggler

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2009, 05:15:43 PM »
Ah yes Professor, but you see, what about hammerless guns, or rebounding hammer guns where the hammer does not rest on any round at all?


Words, words. In fact, in no CAS legal handgun does the hammer rest ON the round. It rests OVER a chamber, which must be empty at the start of the match. Or else it has to be locked in position between chambers, such as by a safety slot. One or t'other. Empty chamber or between chambers.

I am not familiar with Span-Am guns, so I don't know which part of that you think doesn't apply.

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2009, 05:36:24 PM »
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Offline Drydock

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2009, 05:37:51 PM »
Professor, I'll try to address this for you.  In a Single Action Army and others of this type, with the hammer down the firing pin does indeed rest on the primer of any cartridge chambered beneath it.  Unless you're thinking of Rugers and such.  This is WHY SASS requires SAAs and others to be carried with only 5 rounds loaded with an empty chamber beneath the hammer.  

We are talking about 5 shot small frame revolvers such as the S&W safety hammerless, which are considered safe to carry with a loaded chamber aligned with the barrel by design.  And should this rule apply to them, or should the safety features inheirent to the design, such as a rebounding hammer/grip safety, be considered to perform the same function in application as an empty chamber under the hammer in an SAA.  
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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2009, 07:01:41 PM »
I am not familiar with Span-Am guns, so I don't know which part of that you think doesn't apply.

Professor
It's not a "Span-Am gun issue. I'm not trying to put words into Col. Drydock's mouth but I believe what he is getting at is that unlike SASS in addition to single actions, we allow double actions and some early semi-auto's. While similar in some respects to SASS, in this case we are talking about GAF rules, not SASS rules.

GAF stages tend to have the pistol targets set somewhat further out, and will be harder to hit with such weapons in rapid fire....   We also require movement with loaded/reloaded weapons in leather.  The gun must be capable of being safely carried (In todays modern, if litigous, sense) while loaded and holstered. ... We do allow 5 shooters to be fully loaded, IF the weapon was designed to be safely carried that way...  the S&W Safety Hammerless fits that description.  A postitive  hamer block and grip safety. If the H&R does not have these features, and allows the cylinder to spin under the hammer, then I don't see how it could be used in a main match scenario.
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Offline Professor Honeyfuggler

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Re: A handgun question
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2009, 07:22:09 PM »
Pitspitr, thanks for the clarification. I was interested in the discussion because I'm looking to obtain a "pocket gun" myself for use in SASS side matches, and I've been dancing with the regulations in terms of what might be suitable or not. 

We are talking about 5 shot small frame revolvers such as the S&W safety hammerless, which are considered safe to carry with a loaded chamber aligned with the barrel by design.

OK, now I'm dialed in to what you are talking about. Thanks. The following is offered in the context of SASS use, case other SASS members wander through here:

The central issue, as I see it, is that the words "Safety" and "Hammerless" are both marketing terms, rather than absolutely accurate descriptions of the firearms. But "Safer Spurless Internal Hammer" just doesn't have the same ring to it. From what I've read, the early models even came factory equipped with an accessory pin to enable the user to lock down the grip safety (which was basically an early "child-proofing" attempt) and this bypass it. And the inertial firing pin proved not to be 100% reliable against accidental discharge caused by dropping the gun. Darned good, but not 100%, as later lawsuits proved.

No question the S&W DAO design was safer than the SAA, and the overall record shows that the design family was quite safe, relatively speaking. But it still isn't as safe as having the weapon at rest with the hammer (OK, the firing pin) resting on an empty chamber or locked between chambers. And that safe state is easy to verify at the loading table, whereas the internal presence or not (or state of repair) of safety mechanisms is not. To me it's an obvious place to draw the line for SASS matches.

And my disclaimer is that I have absolutely nothing to do with crafting SASS regulations. Those guys don't even call me to see what I think.  :P  But I do think it's a good rule because it IS easy to explain and enforce, and safety has to come first.

Next we'll tackle the issue of short sleeved shirts... heh.  Are they legal for GAF shoots?  ;D

 

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